We are presently in the Trinity season of the church calendar. This is the longest season, extending from Pentecost until Advent. The paraments on the pulpit and table help worshippers think of the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Now that we have celebrated the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus and the gift of the Spirit in the church year, our focus shifts to living in the reality of our redemption. We respond to the grace of God through growth. The green colors, tree and wheat on the banners, picture the Church as it matures and bears the fruits of the Spirit. Pray for God to enable you to apply his revelation in your life and nurture your growth in Christ.
Ten days after the ascension of Christ and fifty days after his resurrection, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples on the day of Pentecost. Pentecost symbolizes a new beginning. It celebrates the unleashing of the Holy Spirit on the world and the empowering of the church to reach the world with the gospel. In celebrating Pentecost, the church professes its confidence and security in knowing the Spirit’s power is available for its mission; and grows in awareness of the immensity of its calling to reach the world with the gospel.
Christ’s ascension means that in heaven there is one who, knowing firsthand the experience of suffering and temptation, prays for us and perfects our prayers. The ascension is a witness and guarantee of our own bodily resurrection, as well as an invitation for us to set our hearts and minds “on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1-2) to rule over all things in heaven and throughout the universe (Eph.1:10, 20-23). Finally, the ascension of Jesus serves as the prelude to Pentecost, when the power of the risen Christ came upon all believers through the Holy Spirit. We celebrate and remember the ascension of Christ today although Ascension Day was last Thursday.
As early as the second century AD, Easter for the Christian Church extended forward into a “most joyful season” of fifty days leading into Pentecost. Known as “Eastertide,” it was a season of hope and celebration in which Christians began to get a foretaste of the heavenly banquet awaiting them. It was an appropriate time to spread the Good News of Christ’s resurrection and celebration. The heart of the Christian calendar rests squarely on Easter. The celebration of Eastertide allows us to see our Christian life from the other side of Easter, and encourages us to live our lives in Christ’s victory, hope and power. It invites us to feel the exhilaration of his disciples after realizing he was alive!